An initiative of the Medical Society of Papua New Guinea, the ‘Access to safe surgery and safe anaesthesia' conference follows the release of global health and surgical statements in support of the World Health Organization's guidelines on safe surgery.
Specialists from Papua New Guinea, Australia and the US, including global health policy expert Professor Mark Shrime from Harvard Medical School and the president of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Professor David A Scott spoke at the conference which was held from September 4 to 6.
Australian anaesthetist Michael Cooper said the World Health Organisation had found more people die in PNG from unmet surgical needs than from AIDS, TB and malaria combined.
Dr Cooper said a lot of life-saving basic surgery could be done with the right training and equipment and it didn't have to be expensive.
He said there were many reasons people need surgery
"Normal disease processes like appendicitis, bowel obstructions, things like that, that can occur to anybody at any time, but if you don't have access to a hospital that can perform basic operations like that, then you will die."
Dr Cooper said research over the past five years by the World Health Organisation confirmed the global burden of unmet surgical needs and the recent conference in Port Moresby was one of the ways in which to address the problem.